EU roaming rates to be abolished from June 2017

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Mobile phone users will pay the same price as at home for calls, texts and data when travelling within 28 member countries 

EU roaming charges will be abolished from June 15, 2017 following an agreement between the European Parliament and Council.

It means that when travelling within the 28 EU member countries, mobile phone users will pay the same price as at home for calls, texts and data.

From April 2016, roaming will be capped. Operators will only be able to charge a small additional amount to domestic prices up to €0.05 per minute of calls made, €0.02 per SMS sent and €0.05 per MB of data.

The maximum roaming charge is about 75 per cent cheaper than current roaming caps for calls made and data.

In April 2014, it was announced that roaming charges would be abolished from December 17, 2015, but union member countries wanted a later implementation to allow firms to continue levying charges on travellers until at least the end of 2018.

However, a compromise has been reached between the European Commission, European Parliament and European Council to abolish the charges in two years time.

The commission said that for a decade it has continuously been working to decrease roaming charges within the EU. Prices for roaming calls, SMS and data have fallen by 80 per cent since 2007, while data roaming is now up to 91 per cent cheaper compared to that same year.

In addition, new net neutrality rules are being introduced from April 30, 2016, meaning users will be free to access the content of their choice, they will not be unfairly blocked or slowed down anymore. and paid prioritisation will not be allowed.

The EC said this means, for example, that the access to a start-up’s website will not be unfairly slowed down to make way for bigger companies.

In the open internet, all traffic will be treated equally, subject to efficient day-to-day network management by ISPs and subject to strict and clearly identified public interest exceptions, such as network security or combating child pornography.

Commission vice president for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip said: “Europeans have been calling and waiting for the end of roaming charges as well as well as net neutrality rules. They have been heard.

“We still have a lot of work ahead of us to create a Digital Single Market. Our plans to make it happen were fully endorsed by Heads of State and Government last week, and we should move faster than ever on this.”

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